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Filtering of information on CRB / DBS certificates

From 29 May 2013, the DBS will filter off old and minor convictions and cautions, reprimands and warnings from Certificates.  This was one of the recommendations made by in the initial review by Sunita Mason, and supports issues raised about the impact of CRB checks on past offender’s employment.  Furthermore the Court of Appeal judged that the release of a person’s full criminal record information infringed Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The filtering rules apply to all DBS Certificates issued from 29 May 2013.

Legislative Background

The filtering rules (which will remove certain old and minor convictions and cautions, reprimands and warnings from a DBS Certificate) were developed by the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice and introduced with new legislation, namely:

    • Police Act 1997 (Criminal Record Certificates:       Relevant Matters) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013 – and can be       found here
    • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions)       Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013 – and can be found here

The Filtering Rules.

The Filtering Rules can be found on the DBS website and are summarised below.
Adults –  those 18 or over at the time of the offence:

An adult conviction will be removed from a DBS Certificate if,

  • 11 years have elapsed since the date of conviction; and
  • it is the person’s only offence, and
  • it did not result in a custodial sentence.

However, it will only be removed if it does not appear on the range of offences which will never be removed from a certificate, which include serious sexual and violent offences. If a person has more than one offence, then details of all their convictions will always be included.

An adult caution will be removed after six years have elapsed since the date of the caution – and if it does not appear on the list of offences relevant to safeguarding.

Minors – those under 18 at the time of the offence:
For convictions, the same rules apply as for adult convictions, except that the elapsed time period is five and a half years.

For cautions, the same rules apply as for adult cautions, except that the elapsed time period is two years.

Exceptions to the Rules

Some offences , such as the most serious sexual and violent offences, will never be removed from a DBS Certificate.   The specified list of offences is here:   It is important to note that a DBS Certificate issued before 29 May 2013 cannot be disputed on the basis of filtering alone; however, DBS Certificates produced after this date can be on if the person thinks that a conviction or caution should have been filtered off in line with the rules.
Safeguarding referrals and barring decisions remain unaffected by the introduction of these filtering rules.
The DBS will not be reissue existing DBS (and CRB) Certificates as these were issued under the legislation in place at the date of issue.


Important information for employers

Employers will not be able to take certain old and minor cautions and convictions into account when making decisions about any individual (see ‘The Filtering Rules’ section above).

Job application forms will need to reflect the filtering changes so that:

a) employers ask the right questions.

b) employees give the right (legally accurate) answer. Employers are encouraged to include the paragraph below in their standard application forms:

‘The amendments
  to the Exceptions Order 1975 (2013) provide that certain spent convictions and cautions are ‘protected’ and are not subject to disclosure to employers, and cannot be taken into account. Guidance and criteria on the filtering of these cautions and convictions can be found at the Disclosure and Barring Service website.’


CQC report on 100 hospital inspections

A CQC report on 100 hospital inspections found that too many hospitals in England are falling short in the most basic care they are giving elderly patients. It carried out unannounced visits at 100 hospitals to assess dignity and nutrition standards, and identified concerns in 55 cases, describing the findings as “alarming”.  Common areas of concern included a lack of support for those who needed help eating, poor hygiene and curtains not being closed properly.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he would encourage whistle-blowers to highlight any concerns they had about the standard of hospital care for the elderly.  He said: “We expect that staff across the NHS, if they see examples of poor care they blow the whistle on that, which is precisely why we have introduced changes to the staff contract.”

The inspections were ordered by Mr Lansley after several highly critical reports by campaigners, including the Patients Association.

In two cases – Sandwell General in West Bromwich and Alexandra Hospital in Worcestershire – the problems were judged to represent a major problem to patients. In the case of Sandwell, this led to the closure of the ward where there were the most problems, while a follow-up visit to the Alexandra showed measures had been put in place to rectify the issues.  At another – James Paget in Great Yarmouth – moderate problems were identified, but when a return visit was made and the issues had not been resolved the hospital was issued with a warning notice, meaning if swift improvements are not made it could face sanctions including prosecution or closure of services.  Continue reading the BBC story

Examples of poor care

  • “The patient constantly called out for help and rattled the bedrail as staff passed by… 25 minutes passed before this patient received attention.”
  • “We saw a staff member taking a female patient to the toilet. The patient’s clothing was above their knees and exposed their underwear.”
  • “Nobody was routinely offered hand-washing before or after their meals and hand gel was not within easy reach.”
  • “Two members of staff who were assisting people with their meals at the time were having a conversation between themselves.”
  • “The person did not have any assistance and the food was left on their table for over half an hour before they were assisted to eat.”
  • During the inspections, the regulator identified a series of common problems: These included call bells being placed out of the reach of patients, staff speaking in a condescending or dismissive way and curtains not being closed properly.
  • In terms of nutrition, some people who were judged to need help eating were not getting it, while interruptions meant that not all meals were being finished by patients.
  • The regulator also said that in too many cases patients were not able to clean their hands before meals.

Response to Report

CQC chair Dame Jo Williams said: “The fact that over half of hospitals were falling short to some degree in the basic care they provided to elderly people is truly alarming and deeply disappointing. This report must result in action.”

Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK, agreed. “This shows shocking complacency on the part of those hospitals towards an essential part of good healthcare and there are no excuses.”

Janet Davies, of the Royal College of Nursing, accepted there could be “no excuse”, but added the squeeze in finances was making it harder to keep standards high on wards. “Evidence shows that patient safety and quality of care is improved when you have the right numbers and the right skills in place on wards,” she added.